We have a lot of discussions here in the marketing department about (you guessed it) marketing. There’s a lot of vague, confusing, or just downright misleading language out there in the world today. One example I can think of is one that involves something we all probably eat regularly: bread. The food industry is especially tricky when it comes to phrasing.
I thought about this when I was at breakfast the other morning at a little café near my house. The Tin Roof Grill is one of my favorite little local joints, but their menu is a bit confusing to me. The eggs and bacon I ordered came with something called “breakfast bread.” I wondered for a while if it was actually just toast, but when I received my food, I discovered that it’s actually just a warm buttery roll, served with jelly. Ok, now that makes sense, but it wouldn’t be unlike a restaurant to intentionally confuse us. This “breakfast bread” made me think about other words I’ve heard the food industry use to describe something simple like bread. They use adjectives that become marketing terms like “artisan” or “gourmet.” They make bread seem classy or upper-crust (pun intended). Given the frequency of their usage, it seems these words don’t mean much anymore. It’s almost as though the word “gourmet” has become the standard and doesn’t actually add any additional meaning. Nowadays, a gourmet donut is just a donut; a gourmet soda is just a soda. But it gets a bit worse.
There are those things that admit they aren’t what they’d like to be. I mean products that are advertised by using the words “inspired” or “style.” Then you get things like artisan-inspired bread or deli-style mustard. Is it deli mustard or is it deli “style?” Shouldn’t you be confident enough in what your product actually is to simply call it deli mustard? Perhaps vendors of these products aren’t that confident. Imagine if StorageCraft started saying something about ShadowProtect like, “Backup-inspired software for fast-style backups?” Who would trust us then?
Of course, as marketers, we’ve got to see the other side of this. As annoying as buzzwords can be, they sell. Colorful and interesting language sells. That’s why slogans like Coca Cola’s “Open Happiness” (2010) make the product seem so appealing or why “artisan bread” differentiates something that’s “so white-bread.” Of course, we must use language responsibly and optimistically while also making our products stand out among competitors. This is why we refer to ShadowProtect as having “legendary reliability.”
But are we being misleading when we talk about the “legendary reliability of ShadowProtect?” I say no because something that’s the stuff of legends is something worth noting, something worth telling about, something people share, and according to our most recent survey of MSPs, 96 percent said they would recommend ShadowProtect to other MSPs. That’s a lot of sharing.
Plus, what’s the first thing someone does when they successfully recover from a failure? They share the story. Something that’s a big part of why the success happened sounds pretty legendary to me. You’ll also be interesting to note that the phrase we use—“legendary reliability”—isn’t one we dreamed up. In fact, it was coined by a long-time partner who was satisfied by the reliability of our products. The phrase isn’t an invention or marketing jargon—it’s the truth. Try it and you’ll see.
Ultimately, we try to be honest in our advertising and marketing efforts because we’re sensitive to how language is used and how it is perceived, which from where I’m standing, isn’t entirely common for businesses in the world today. We encourage you to look through the marketing fluff of any business and find out about the caliber of the products themselves—a good one really can speak for itself, or at least have a large number of satisfied customers telling its story.